I have recently graduated from my PhD in the broad field of molecular neuroscience, and I have realised a few things about myself:
- I am not sure I want to be a PI, due to my lukewarm experience with my thesis advisor, and the constant hunt for funding that eats away research time in such positions
- I still like wet lab work
- I love teaching, and I can see myself as a lecturer, and student advisor/trainer
Now, I have just been offered two positions, one as a part-time assistant lecturer in life sciences, and one as a full-time postdoc in my previous research field. Both are university/college institutions located in Europe, in lovely cities, and seem fabulous places to work in.
The assistant lecturer role is a 1 year contact, renewable for 2 years, and of course lowly paid. However, there is a moderate chance that, in the next 1-2 years, new lecturer positions (permanent) will be available in the institution offering me the job. As a lecturer I would not be involved in bench research at all.
The postdoc position is within a promising lab with an ambitious project; funding is secured for the 1st year of postdoc, in which you apply for grants (there's at least three funding opportunities as of now). If grants cannot be obtained straight away and my PI 'likes' me, there are some temporary financial backup plans. Ideally, if I fit well in the lab my PI would like to renew my contract for at least 3 years. Work includes supervising and training students, might involve lecturing in the future. Pay is obviously much better than an assistant lecturer's salary.
Now, since I am unsure the classic PI/professor role suits me, and keeping in mind how small the chances to get a tenured position are these days, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to jump into a postdoc. On the other hand, the assistant lecturer job sounds nice but very risky: if things don't work out, I will be out of the institution in max 2 years, and at that point I think it would be very hard to consider going back to the bench. Pure science lecturer positions at university level seem incredibly scarce, too.
Considering the situation, my personal goals and inclinations, and the current job market, what position would you advise to go for?